NFL’s Deflategate Scandal
I thought I was finished commenting about the NFL’s handling or lack of, way of dealing with embarrassing situations. WRONG!
First, let me start off by saying that I am somewhat familiar with what goes on in the players’ locker room, bench on the sidelines and on the playing field. As a teenager, I served as the National Football League “water boy” for the visiting teams when they played against the Washington Redskins at Griffith Stadium during the 1950’s. Yes, times have changed since my time at Griffith Stadium. To me, one major change is that each team is now allowed to choose the footballs that their team will use in the game. Back then, both teams used the same footballs in the game. (“Deflated balls” would not be an issue if today’s rules required that game balls be shared between the two teams.)
The Procedures: My understanding of the rules: 1.) Game footballs are to be delivered to the officials’ locker room 2 hours, 15 minutes prior to game-time. 2.) All balls (from each team) are to be inspected by the designated official/referee. 3.) Balls are to have a minimum of 12.5 psi and a maximum of 13.5 psi. 4.) Once inspected, approved and marked, the balls are to remain under the supervision of the referee until shortly before game time. Once game time approaches, the balls are to be delivered to each team’s ball attendant.
Questions in Need of Resolution: As an experienced investigator, my initial questions:
5.) Did the designated official perform the inspection exactly as the rules require and properly approve/mark those balls? 6.) How much time elapsed between the time the balls were returned to the team and the actual start of the game? 7.) To whom did the referee personally give the balls? 8.) Once passed onto the team, who was the individual who actually maintained consistent control and custody of the balls? 9.) If at any point, were the balls left, without supervision in the locker room or other off-field area where compromise could have taken place? 10.) Once the game was underway, why didn’t the referee or other official who frequently is handling the ball notice the “softness”?
My Concerns: I have heard, although not confirmed, that: 11.) A tip was passed along by the Ravens about the “deflated ball” issue. If so, this warning should have sent red flag warnings to NFL officials, and they should have been extra alert to this possibility. 12.) I cannot understand why a professional quarterback would not have noticed a football’s change in air pressure. And I have even have greater concern with this issue, after hearing the great quarterback Fran Tarkenton state on a news show last evening (Thursday) that he believed the quarterback should have noticed the difference.
No matter how you cut it, a rules violation—major or minor—is a form of cheating and while a fan, I particularly don’t like this team’s past history. It reminds me of that old saying, “Past history is the best predictor of future behavior.” So, let me end my remarks with that “unlucky (or lucky) number”, 13.) Will the Commissioner move to quickly investigate and resolve this issue, or will it be delayed until after the Super Bowl? The integrity of the game is at stake.